Lo Mai Gai (Sticky Chicken Rice)

The sticky rice parcels are always my favourite dish when I go and eat Dim Sum.

Technically these should be wrapped in lotus leaves, but I have been betrayed by every single Asian market I visited in the city. Parchment paper works fine, but you lose some of the aromas.

The packets, once cooked, can be cooled down and frozen. Then grabbed from the freezer and thrown back into the steamer for a week-night meal with zero brain power involved.

Yields 6 packets, could be stretched easily to 8.

Ingredients

4 cups sweet rice (glutinous rice)
2-3 Chinese sausages halved then sliced thinly
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
Vegetable oil
For the Chicken :
3 skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 tea spoon corn starch
2 tea spoon oyster sauce
1/2 tea spoon Mirin
2 tea spoon dark soy sauce
1/2 tea spoon fresh ground pepper
2 pinches of salt

Rice seasoning :
1 tea spoon mirin
2 tea spoon toasted sesame oil
2 tea spoon oyster sauce
2 tea spoon dark soy sauce
couple of pinches of dried mushrooms
2 shallots, chopped

ingredients

***

1. Cover the rice with water and allow to soak a minimum of 4 hours, preferable overnight.
soak

2. Combine the ingredients for the chicken marinade in a bowl.
marinade

3. Remove any gristle from the chicken thighs and cut into thin strips.
chicken1

4. Toss with the marinade, cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
marinade2

5. In a small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients for the rice seasoning.
sauce

6. In a different bowl, put the dried mushrooms.
mushrooms

7. And cover with hot water. Allow to soak for 15 minutes
mushrooms2

8. Drain and chop the mushrooms.
mushrooms3

9. Drain the rice. Take your time and remove as much water as possible.
drain

10. Add the seasoning mix and stir to coat the rice.
season

11. Throw in the shallots and mushrooms.
combine

12. Stir to distribute.
combine2

13. In a skillet, warm the oil and add the garlic.
stuffing1

14. Add the chicken with its marinade and cook, stirring all the while, until some caramelization starts.
stuffing2

15. Add the Chinese sausages.
stuffing3

16. As soon as the chicken is barely cooked through, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
stuffing4

17. Get ready to assemble! Scoop 1/2 a cup of the rice in the middle of a parchment paper sheet, closer to the bottom.
assemble1

18. Spoon some of the chicken and sausage mixture over the rice.
assemble2

19. Scoop another 1/2 cup of rice on top.
assemble3

20. Fold the bottom over the rice, then both sides in snugly (fold the edges of the right and left sides if the paper is too wide). Stand the packet straight and shake the rice to the bottom to make sure everything is compact. Fold the top part over (folding the edges if too long). Secure with kitchen twine. Repeat as needed until you run out of rice and/or stuffing.
fold

21. Put the packets in the basket of a steamer for 90 minutes. If you have bamboo steamers, go ahead and use those. Check on the water every 30 minutes to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
steamer

22. Once the time is up the rice should have plumped up nicely.
steamed

23. Cut open to reveal the delicious content. Because I stuff them on their sides one part of the packet ends up having more sauce/caramelization. If using stacked bamboo steamers, this would not be an issue.
open

24. The rice should pull away to reveal the stuffing.
open+stuffing

25. Any portions you don’t plan to eat right away can be put on a cooling rack and chilled.
cooling-tray

26. Then wrapped in plastic wrap and put into a freezer bag for future eating.
freeze

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Sausage and Fennel Seeds Pasta

This a delicious pasta dish that makes for a difference on a tomato sauce based dish. Packed with flavours and reheats well.

Ingredients:
1 box of rotinis
1 portion of sausage mix
2 sweet yunnan peppers
2 table spoon fennel seeds
1 cup vermouth
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 table spoon dried oregano
1 package of frozen spinach
Parmesan, to taste
Olive oil
ingredients

***

1. In a mortar and pestle, combine the yunnan peppers and the fennel seeds.
spices

2. Crush until the peppers are broken apart and the seeds start breaking up. Set aside.
spices2

3. In a large skillet, heat some of the olive oil. Add the pork and break any large clumps. Get your pasta started.
sausage1

4. When all of the pork is getting colour, add the fennel seeds and peppers. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, you want the meat to caramelize.
sausage2

5. Pour the vermouth and lemon juice over the meat. Add the lemon zest. Cook down until the liquid reduces by half.
liquids

6. Add the dried oregano and spinach. Cover so the spinach thaws faster.
spinash

7. Your pasta should be ready so drain, reserving some of the cooking water. Stir the thawed spinach in with the meat.
cooked

8. Stir in the cooked pasta. If it looks dry add some of the cooking water. Grate parmesan on top to taste.
pasta

9. Serve with more grated parmesan
serve2

Sausage mix

A great substitute for anything that involves pulling sausages out of their casing. Make sure you get fresh ground meat, not made from previously frozen parts.

Ingredients :
3-4 lb of ground pork
2 table spoon red chili flakes
2 table spoon coriander seeds
2 table spoon paprika
3-4 table spoon fennel seeds
ingredients

***

1. Grind and combine all the spices.
soices

2. Add about 2 table spoon of the spice mix per pound of ground meat.
combine

3. Mix to combine and portion off in freezer bags. Throw them in the freezer and pull out as needed.
portion

Mechoui Lamb

This makes for succulent, spice-crusted lamb that falls off the bone. Makes the whole house smell delicious too.

Ingredients
1 leg of lamb
70g butter
3 cloves of garlic
2 tea spoon cumin
1 tea spoon paprika
3 tea spoon coriander
1/4 tea spoon salt
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat oven to 425F
Grind the spices and combine with the butter.
butter1

2. Crush the garlic and add to the butter. Mix until smooth and incorporated.
butter2

3. With a small sharp knife, make little incisions into the lamb all over, making little pockets.
meat1

4. Rub the butter mixture all over, making sure some goes into those pockets. Place on a grill in a roasting pan. Cover with aluminum foil.
meat2

5. Put in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Baste the meat and lower the oven to 315F. Cook for an other hour, hour and a half, basting every 30 minutes. The roast is done when the meat pulls easily from the bone (or starts to fall apart, if you have a boneless roast).
meat3

6. Slice and serve.
serve

Duck Skewers

The duck meat turned out incredibly tender. The spices may overwhelm the taste of the meat, so adjust accordingly. The same marinade would probably work great with beef.

Ingredients :
2 duck breast
2 table spoon Sri Lanka style curry
2 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
2 tea spoon lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tea spoon salt
ingredients

***

1. Put the spices in a mortar and coarsely grind.
spices

2. Put the ground spices in a food processor along with the shallots, garlic, salt, and coconut milk.
blender

3. Pulse until mostly smooth.
blend

4. Cut the duck into cubes. I left the skin on thinking I might be able to crisp it up, but that didn’t work. Just remove it altogether.
cubes

5. Pour the marinade over the meat and stir to coat. Allow to marinate for at least an hour, up to overnight.
marinade

6. Thread onto skewers.
skewers

7. Pre-heat the oven to 375F. Sear the skewers in a pan to color all sides.
pan

8. Then transfer to an ovenproof dish and finish in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
cooked

9. Serve with peanut sauce.
serve

Shawarma style chicken wraps

There are a lot of “do ahead” steps, but they don’t all need to be done at the same time.

Notes for next time :

  • Cook the chicken on a grill to let the fat drip away
  • Roast the garlic for the yogurt sauce.

Ingredients :
8 chicken thighs
Pita bread

For the marinade
3 table soup olive oil
1 tea spoon cumin
1 tea spoon paprika
1 tea spoon turmeric
1 tea spoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
Zest and juice of a lemon
Zest and juice of an orange
Black pepper, to taste

For the garnish
1 red onion
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 table spoon olive oil
1 tomato, diced
Bread and butter pickles
Iceberg lettuce
ingredients

***

1. Combine the yogurt, garlic and olive oil for the garnish, Set aside and allow to mellow overnight.
garlic-sauce

2. Thinly slice the onion, cover with cold water. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.
onions

3. Combine the marinade’s spices and grind them to a rough powder.
spices

4. In a large bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients.
marinade1

5. And stir to dissolve the spices.
marinade2

6. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken. Cut each thigh in half. Put in the marinade and stir to coat. Cover and marinade overnight.
chicken

7. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Cook the chicken on both sides to get some color.
color

8. Finish in the oven until cooked through.
cooked

9. Open the pita bread. Slather with some yogurt sauce. Add the chicken, tomato, lettuce, onions, and pickles to taste. Roll and enjoy.
assemble

 

Chicken Chow Mein

A simple, quick, filling recipe. There are enough textures to keep things interesting, the ingredients are simple enough to make a cheap week-night option and the left overs (all the left overs. So many left overs) reheat beautifully.

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup + 1 table spoon Chinese stir fry sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small cabbage
1 bag of chow mein noodles
1 cup carrots, shredded or julienned
1 bunch of green onions
Couple of handful of bean sprouts
Peanut oil
ingredients

***

1. Cut the chicken into cubes. Pour 1 table spoon of sauce over the chicken. Stir to coat and set aside to marinade.
chicken

2. Rinse the cabbage and remove the outer leaves. Cut in half and remove the core. Cut each half in half, and then slice thinly.
cabbage

3. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop the noodles and cook for about 5 minutes.
noodle

4. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
noodles2

5. In a large skillet or wok, warm some of the peanut oil. Add the minced garlic until just fragrant.
garlic

6. Add the marinated chicken and allow to color (1-2 minutes)
chicken2

7. Add the white part of the green onions and the cabbage.
cabbage2

8. Once the cabbage has started to wilt, add the carrots.
carrots

*. Optional step: acknowledge that your cabbage is never going to wilt enough and transfer everything to the pot used to boil the noodles

9. Add the noodles.
noodles3

10. Add the 1/4 cup of stir-fry sauce and 1/4 cup of water. Stir to coat.
sauce

11. Add the green parts of the green onions and the bean sprouts.
sprouts

12. Stir well to combine, allow 1-2 minutes for the flavors to mingle.
combine

13. Serve warm.
serve